I’ve been trying to figure out how lonely Corwin might or might not be. I mean, she’s always enthusiastic when I walk into a room, she’s not … listless… but she does spend a lot of time looking out the window. It’s probably too human of me to think that she misses Bridgett, right? But I usually don’t get a Backup Dog until my current Old Dog is about ten… and Corwin’s only… seven. Maybe eight. We got her in September of 2008 and she was 2-3 years old then. So she might be eight. I still think of her in terms of just “being younger than Bridgett” but I suppose … well, anyway, I’m getting off track and this is already going to be a long one. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been weighing how much Corwin might like being the Only Dog vs. how much dogs are pack animals and even with me and with the cats that she might be lonely for her own kind.
A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I went to go see Star Trek. We got there waaaaay early so Tim asked if I wanted to go inside and look at the dogs. I was all OMG IS THIS A TEST? Of course I want to look at dogs! I love dogs! But I don’t want Tim to think that if I say “who’s a woogie woogie woogie” that it means I want to take a dog home. I mean, I can be pretty vocal about “who’s an adorable dog” but just because the food looks good doesn’t mean I want to order it… does that make sense? I think that’s why I made such a good Foster Mom, when I was doing that. I loved them because they were dogs, but I never felt like I was the dog’s permanent home (except for Bridgett). So. We go in to look, and even though we’re just looking, still somewhere in the back of my head is a voice saying “doesn’t like cats; too small; too yippy; likes cats but doesn’t like other dogs; all these dogs say “loves to snuggle on couch” and we don’t allow dogs on the couch”… in other words, I was judging them as if they were potential pets, and they were all falling short.
But then Tim taps me on the shoulder and points to a break in the massive crowd of people (seriously, it was crazy)… and there’s a big yellow-brown dog with only three legs. I can not tell you how much I want a three-legged dog. I should almost not be allowed to have one, I want one that much. Not in some weird pervy way, ICK. But I love the triumph of “living in the now” that allows animals to overcome amputations in a way that people don’t, and I love the idea of giving a good animal a loving home when they otherwise might be hard to place. Do you know three-legged dogs are hard to get adopted? ISN’T THAT CRAZY?! Who wouldn’t want a three-legged dog?! But I also didn’t want to get a three-legged dog JUST to get a three-legged dog. What if it didn’t like cats? What if it was a boy? (Turns out I had mis-remembered, Tim said “no more boy cats, ever” not “no more boy pets.”) What if it didn’t like other dogs? What if it’s very, very old? I don’t have a problem with old dogs, but if we’re getting a Backup Dog, the point of that is kind of that the dog is younger than the Current Dog. What if it just wasn’t a good fit for our family? I mean, getting a dog just to be able to say “I have a three-legged dog” is a shitty thing to do, if you or one of your other animals or it winds up being unhappy in the long run. And we were going to a movie, it was busy and nobody was around who could let the dog out to play with us, so… we left.
I did a little research over the next few days, not in an active way to adopt the dog, but in an active way to find out more about the dog and to think about whether or not I wanted to meet it. I mean, I wasn’t begging Tim for a new dog, but … was the universe trying to tell me something? I’ve always wanted a three-legged dog, and here’s one desperate to get adopted? Should I listen to the universe? I posted about it on Facebook, got a lot of people saying “GET THE DOG!” but… I don’t know, even without meeting the dog, just in reading his story online and looking at pictures, it just… didn’t seem right. I can’t really put my finger on it. It just didn’t feel like the right time, the right dog, even though you would think that it would have been.
And I meant to blog about this then, and talk to y’all about whether it was the right time, if it was too soon after Bridgett, was getting a three-legged dog selfish, yadda yadda yadda. Do that thing where I work it out by writing it out. But I was so busy dyeing yarn and being away from the computer that I didn’t have time to write it out… which is why this post is at least twice as long as it should be (I thought about dividing it into two or even three posts, but then thought people might hurt me if I didn’t get to Lindy’s story right away.
So when my vet was at the house a couple weeks ago about Tavi, I brought it up with her. I remembered her saying that she had seven dogs, and I knew one of them was special needs. I was thinking it was three-legged, but it’s paralyzed in the back and has a little wheelchair thing. OMG how cute that must be, right?! A little Doxie on a wheel?! I think Sharon just broke the sound barrier with her squee. My vet also has a rescue organization associated with her clinic, and she said that not only did they have a three-legged dog in right now, a … I don’t remember, a Schnauzer or something… but that they had just gotten a call that morning from Animal Control about a three-legged pit bull that they had actually seen before at the vet, for a prolapsed uterus. Twice. (I will wait while you animal lovers catch your breath, because if you’re anything like me, your mind just went to her being a puppy mill mama.) She wouldn’t be ready for adoption for a few weeks, because they wanted to check her over (she’d had four legs last time she was in) and obviously they wanted to spay her. I said that well, I wasn’t sure, maybe it just wasn’t time — I mean, the requirements we have! Being a girl would be a plus, but the dog absolutely must be cat and other-dog friendly, and younger than Corwin. Maybe not by a whole lot, but at least a couple/three years.
About a week ago, I was talking about this at a spinning get-together I went to, and Jane mentioned that coming up the first weekend of June was Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, wherein the fees to adopt a pet are waived for the weekend (with participating shelters/foster groups) and in return Maddie’s Fund makes a sweet, sweet donation for every dog and cat adopted. I kind of thought, well, how crazy would it be if there were a younger, cat-and-dog friendly, three-legged femaile dog available that weekend? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!? Pretty slim, I thought, and when the weekend came around I didn’t even bring it up with Tim because we had plans both Saturday and Sunday night, and I didn’t want to… I don’t know. I didn’t want the universe to think I really was looking for that, because then it might give it to me, and I’d have to bring it home.
Yeah. So clearly that worked out. Oh, whoops. SPOILERS.
What happened was that the vet called us at about 3:30 in the afternoon on Sunday. “I hate to bother you,” she said. “I hate to make it sound like you absolutely have to do this, if you’re not ready. But that pit bull? The three-legged one? She did not get adopted today, and it’s Maddie’s weekend, so while I have to be honest you’d really be helping us out financially if you adopted her, I don’t want you to feel obligated. But I did want to put it out there for you, in case you were interested.” I asked how old they thought the dog was (two or three), whether she was cat friendly (don’t know, but she seems very relaxed with all the other animals), and whether I could bring Corwin out with us if we came to see her, so that they could meet (sure, we don’t have a play area but they can meet in the parking lot and you can stand there as long as you want, or walk them together around the building for a while). So. So we loaded Corwin, a container of treats, and an extra leash in the car (just in case, you know; like packing an umbrella so that it won’t rain) and we drove across town.
When we got there, Tim stayed outside with Corwin, in case it was crazy inside. When I first walked in, they were very “Hi, how are you, we only have about three dogs left” but I waved that off and said that “Dr. MyVetsName called me about a three-legged dog…?” and then their faces lit up like lightbulbs and I was invited back to look at her. THAT FACE. She looked a lot, especially with the reverse coloring, like Corwin. Her coat is so beautiful I can’t even tell you — it glows a golden black in the full sun. She’s electric! The leg that she’s missing is about a third of her left hind leg.
Her story seems to be this (and this is pieced together from talking to three our four different people, all who knew a little thing but not the whole thing… so this might not be her literal story, but I’m sure it’s as close to the truth as it can be, as she can’t tell us): She has been seen, twice, for a prolapsed uterus. She’s got some big ol’ titties (not hanging down, so nothing recent, but my god she could put an eye out with those nipples!) and has probably had at least three litters. She was born, if the records are right, in late November of 2009 (making her about four years younger than Corwin). She is heartworm positive, so we’re treating her for that (slow kill, not the usual fast kill that you need to keep them so calm during… and that’s good because she’s a freaking spaz). And some time in the last six months or so, she got her leg caught in something, possibly a fence, and chewed off her own leg to get away. The stump is … well, it’s not a CLEAN amputation — the vet said no vet would ever do it the way that it is — but it’s not … grody. Honestly I haven’t really poked at it, because just in case, I want her to be comfortable with me before I do (which, if we make or get a prosthesis made, we’d need to poke around and measure it a lot). I don’t think it’s been a super long time, because not when she’s running, but when she’s standing still, she tries to put it down and stand on it. Whoopsy. But when she’s running, she tucks it up close to her body and takes off like a freaking rocket!
On the drive out there, we were talking about dog names. FOR NO REASON. BECAUSE WE WERE PROBABLY NOT COMING HOME WITH A DOG. But if we did, what sort of funny names might we come up with? Corwin is a literary name, so … what literary characters with amputations are there? Merle, from The Walking Dead. Jaime, from Game of Thrones. Kolya, from The Deed of Paksenarrion. Peeta, from The Hunger Games (even though they left that out of the movie, fer cryin’ out loud). But when I got into the back room and saw her, above her head was a name. At first I thought I was reading it wrong. I thought it said “Lindsay”… but no. It was “Lindy.” I busted out laughing, at how she was named after the dance, and the two volunteers just stared at me. I was all, “that’s really funny! I get it! Lindy!”… and they still just stared. “The Lindy Hop? Lindy? Because she hops?”… they still just stared. Sigh. Humor is lost on some people.
Anyway. Clearly the dogs got along… although we did have a little altercation yesterday, over a toy that hasn’t seen any action in years, so… we may have to keep an eye on them while they work out any dominance issues. I was more upset, I think, at the snapping and growling than they were. I was going to let them work it out until Corwin flipped Lindy over and Lindy squealed in a way that I Did Not Like… so I grabbed Corwin’s tail and pulled her off. Before I had even grabbed Corwin’s collar and let go of her tail, Lindy had backed away and sat down… so I’m not entirely sure she’s the one who started it. Part of me worries that if they didn’t get to work it out then, will it happen again and again until they do….? Or maybe that was enough, and maybe I yelled loud enough at both of them that they got the idea that *I’m* the top dog? Because trust me, I almost blew out a vocal cord yelling at them. Fortunately things have been pretty quiet since then. And when I posted about it on Facebook, I got a lot of reassurance that this happens, it’s all good, I have not doomed this poor dog to a lifetime of being bullied by her big sister. I mean, I watch Cesar Milan, I get pack order, I understand “the Way.” But for some reason with all the dogs I’ve ever fostered or parented, I’ve never had to deal with dominance issues. So we’ll see how it goes over the next few days. In the meantime, I’m trying not to give off Nervous Energy.
But this gives me hope that it’s a good fit.